Pakistan vs Sri Lanka: Calm Sarfraz Ahmed takes Pakistan to win over Sri Lanka, into ICC Champions Trophy 2017 semi-final

Pakistan, having collapsed to 137/6 at one stage, rode on an unbeaten stand of 75 runs between captain Sarfraz Ahmed and Mohammad Amir for the eight wicket to chase down the 237-run target against Sri Lanka and reach the semi-final of Champions Trophy.

By: Express Web Desk | Cardiff | Updated: June 13, 2017 12:48 am
pakistan vs sri lanka, pak vs sl, sarfraz ahmed, champions trophy Sarfraz Ahmed scored unbeaten 61 to help Pakistan win against Sri Lanka. (Source: Reuters)

A win that Pakistan needed. A match the Champions Trophy needed. A game that only summarises Pakistan campaign so far in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. A stunning bowling performance to bowl out Sri Lanka for 236 at Cardiff and then making batting look easy. But actually they never got going. After suffering a middle order collapse which saw them lose five wickets for 45 runs, Pakistan overcame all hurdles to beat Sri Lanka by three wickets and book a spot in the semi-final.

Sarfraz Ahmed and Mohammad Amir stitched together an unbeaten 75-run stand for the eighth wicket as Pakistan chased down the target in 44.5 overs and reach the semi-finals where they face England at Cardiff on Wednesday.

Pakistan made two comebacks in the game, both stunning. First the stunning display of pace bowling saw them bowl out Sri Lanka for 236 after they had got a decent platform to launch the attack. The second, which should not have happened, was when Sarfraz and Amir provided the calm approach which was missing in the chase.

Pakistan began the chase with an aggressive approach as Fakhar Zaman, playing only his second one-day international, came out and started unleashing. Pakistan did not run away with the game but were 74 for no loss after 11 overs. Zaman never looked to curb down his aggression and had to pay the price for that. Nuwan Pradeep bowled a well directed bouncer and Zaman pulled without any control. He managed to find the fielder at fine-leg.

Pakistan, just when it looked like they will unleash and make this chase look easy, lost the way. Babar Azam became Pradeep’s second victim as he offered an easy catch to mid-wicket.

Mohammed Hafeez then got a leading edge and was caught at mid-on off Thisara Perera. Suddenly, Sri Lanka were back in it. Suranga Lakmal got one to bounce a bit extra and Azhar Ali edged it to the third slip. Sri Lanka were all over Pakistan.

From 92 for 1, Pakistan collapsed to 137 for 6. Lasith Malinga had Shoaib Malik caught behind down the leg side before Imad Wasim became Pradeep’s third victim.

Debutant Fahim Ashraf played a sensible knock of 28 runs off 43 balls before his innings ended in an unfortunate way. Sarfraz played it straight back and Angelo Mathews got a hand on the ball in his follow-through. Fahim was backing up and could not make it back to his ground as the ball hit the stumps.

Sarfraz and Amir then brought the calm and Sri Lanka let go off the match from an easy position. Amir joined Sarfraz with Pakistan needing 75 more runs with three wickets in hand. Sri Lanka were the favourite. But dropped catches and erratic fielding which resulted in overthrows saw them lose the grip of the match.

Perera put down a simple catch of Sarfraz at mid-on and later substitute fielder Seekkuge Prasanna dropped him again in the 41st over. Lasith Malinga was the bowler on both occasions. Sri Lanka kept making errors in the field and Pakistan kept finding their way back into the game.

In the end, Sarfraz hit Malinga towards third-man to seal the game. If this was Malinga’s last ICC tournament, then Sri Lanka did not give him the farewell he deserved.

Pakistan team was completely opposite while bowling. Sri Lanka would not have thought that despite in the advantage for majority of the innings, they were bowled out for 236. It was mainly because of Junaid Khan and Amir. From 161 for 3, Sri Lanka collapsed to 167/7, thanks to a four-over burst from the two pacers.

It was solid display of some sensational pace bowling from the pacers. Junaid, who dropped for the first game against India, bowled his heart out and with Amir changed the game.

Junaid bowled the delivery of the match as he pitched one up to Dhananjaya de Silva which seamed away just enough to take the outside edge of the bat. Before this, Amir had dismissed Mathews to end a threatening partnership between Niroshan Dickwella and Mathews.

Mathews wicket denied Sri Lanka the platform to launch the final flurry. Dickwella was caught behind for 73 and then hard-hitting Perera was caught in the slips as Sri Lanka failed to play out the complete 50 overs.

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  1. U
    uzair baloch
    Jun 13, 2017 at 11:49 am
    P a k i s t a n Zindbad.
    Reply
    1. B
      Beyond Good
      Jun 13, 2017 at 8:05 am
      Pakistan is not a country but a state of mind!
      Reply
      1. B
        Balakrishnan Hariharan
        Jun 13, 2017 at 7:23 am
        The days of Makings and Thisera Periera are over. They are a shadow of yesteryear.
        Reply
        1. H
          harun
          Jun 13, 2017 at 5:42 am
          The drama seen during the chase was due,Pak being involved.But why bother s will get Fuc d By England
          Reply
          1. T
            t d
            Jun 13, 2017 at 4:53 am
            In this Champions Trophy, in the last four games the teams batting second are chasing and winning. Bangladesh knocking out Kiwis, Srilanka chasing India and winning, India registering the win over Proteas and now stan chasing and winning. Let us hope in the remaining three games the team setting a target wins.
            Reply
            1. M
              Manoj
              Jun 13, 2017 at 4:24 am
              Indians should get involved more in genuine sports like in Olympics. Cricket (few countries play it) could be maintained for entertainment but let us not waste our resources on this.
              Reply
              1. E
                Ehsan Habib
                Jun 13, 2017 at 2:15 am
                We paid when we dropped Kohli and Yuvraj. You don't drop catches or you board the next flight with chicken face to your home.
                Reply
                1. S
                  srini
                  Jun 13, 2017 at 12:49 am
                  why is this newspaper so fond of Pak cricket news? every news related to pak cricket is headlines in IE , don't understand why?
                  Reply
                  1. R
                    Raj Parwani
                    Jun 13, 2017 at 1:01 am
                    It's about the semi finalist of the second most respected cricket event in the world, all major newspapers including British newspapers like Guardian made it the top news no need to mention Indian Times. Please take off your hate glasses and you will start realizing that Pa-stan is one of the world's major countries and can give tough time to India from battleground to sports to trade alliances. It's bigger than Russia in population and has a lot of influence on around 2 billion Muslims around the world.
                    Reply
                    1. S
                      srini
                      Jun 13, 2017 at 1:29 am
                      i understand this is major tournament but i regularly observe that any pak game is in the headlines , it can go in the sports column. it is my curiosity .. if you think it is hatred , i still will defend that ... why shouldn't I, when our soldiers are getting killed very now and then in the border ..
                      1. S
                        Soma mitra
                        Jun 13, 2017 at 4:32 am
                        Srini ur mind is rusted with the hatec..more it's tried to be removed more it's destro ..u are affected un cureable .Dude stan is enemy for us not for other world countries .and sports is venue we all forget the hate and dislike towards a country .it has helped many countries to patch up their issues .. Chasing down such a score after losing wickets to 160 for 7 is a great achievement and wrth to be on headlines
                        1. S
                          srini
                          Jun 13, 2017 at 5:24 am
                          Soma, why don't we see other news related to sports with more achievements than this pak game, in the front page news? Why don't we see any other countries (atleast around us) sports achievements in front page? why so favoritism for pak?? you don't see the bigger picture , there is something with this newspaper.
                          1. S
                            Soma mitra
                            Jun 13, 2017 at 6:15 am
                            Only one of ur eyes are open .have u read Christian Robalo's s team lift champions league trophy n big pic ? Seen rafel nadal lifting his 10 tu French open trophy ..have u seen same importance given to Bangladesh who defeated their rivLs to reach the semis of this tournaments ..if u hvnt seen .. I told u ur other eye have some issue .... U are a prejudiced guy .... A person who love sport will never count the relation between countries .he loves the game ..u hve a mindset needed for 50 years back ... Today the world is one ... U kind of people who had never travelled beyond India would not understand the meaning if my words dude .grow up ... The fight ID between bureaucrats and politicians of the country .and that fight cannot be solved by violence .. From both side they need to m sacrifice some thing which is not possible .So just love sport ...don't blame IE .it's the only newspaper I find who is not any pro party
                            1. U
                              uzair baloch
                              Jun 13, 2017 at 11:51 am
                              You nailed it bro.
                            2. J
                              jiba
                              Jun 13, 2017 at 1:03 am
                              nothing wrong in that
                              Reply
                              1. R
                                Raj Parwani
                                Jun 13, 2017 at 1:46 am
                                Soldiers are being killed on both sides because there is an unresolved issue here, solve Kashmir problem and nobody would be killed on either side. We Indians have to realise that sooner or later we have to come to the table with Pa-stan to resolve Kashmir issue, until then we will be keeping 8 lakh armymen there and both coutries would be spending more money on buying weapons than on education or healthcare.
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